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May 24, 2024
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The ultimate Airbnb host guide

Since its inception, Airbnb has flipped the travel industry. It's one of the most popular platforms for vacationers worldwide. The user-friendly platform offers a plethora of unique options for stays while traveling. For hosts, Airbnb represents a lucrative opportunity for their short-term rental properties.

This guide covers what hosts need to know about being vacation rental hosts on Airbnb. We also cover the percentage of income Airbnb takes from hosts, what's required to be an Airbnb host, and how much hosts can make. Finally, we conclude with what Airbnb hosts should provide to be great hosts and leverage strategies to maximize their revenue.

What percentage does Airbnb take as a host?

Airbnb's competitive fee structure will typically be based on a split-fee model. However, they also offer a “simplified pricing” model where all service fees (15% in total) are covered by the host. Contrary to what many believe, this does not necessarily result in less income for the host. Hosts just need to adjust their pricing accordingly to account for the difference. Another benefit is that Airbnb will highlight that no guest service fee is added to your rates, making your listings more attractive to many guests.

Standard Airbnb host service fee

For you as a host, Airbnb charges a host fee. This involves a service fee charged for using the platform. Airbnb deducts 3% of the booking subtotal. This covers the listing price and cleaning fee. It also supports Airbnb's additional costs, including payment processing and customer support. However, it excludes taxes and additional charges.

The split fee means guests also pay. They typically charge a service fee between 14-20% of the booking subtotal.

Additional fees and charges

Hosts can impost additional charges and increase their profits. Some common extra charges include:

  • Cleaning fees.
  • Additional guest fees.
  • Security deposits.
  • Amenity fees.
  • Early check-in and late check-out fees.

What is required to be an Airbnb host?

In a nutshell, being an Airbnb host requires aligning with legal, regulatory, and property requirements. Below, we detail the main things you need to know.

Legal and regulatory requirements

To become an Airbnb host, you must comply with legal and regulatory requirements.

First, check local laws and regulations. Each locality and country has specific rules. This can include zoning laws, licensing, and registration requirements. Also, many cities require hosts to have a permit or license.

You must also conform to tax regulations. This includes collecting and remitting occupancy taxes specific to short-term rentals. Liability insurance should also be considered, as it is crucial for protection against potential guest claims. Airbnb offers coverage for these aspects under their AirCover policy, which includes damage insurance and liability protection.

Property requirements

Airbnb has property requirements and standards that must be met. These are necessary for adherence to the platform's rules and your success as a host.

Properties must be safe, clean, and maintained. Ensure essentials such as toiletries and bedding are expected by guests. More importantly, safety measures such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers are mandatory in most localities.

How much can Airbnb hosts make?

Every host wants to know how much they can earn on Airbnb, and in the end of the day, they want to know if Airbnb is indeed profitable. Following our Airbnb host guide, here are three key factors that influence your earning potential on Airbnb.

Location and seasonal demand

Location and seasonal demand are two primary factors determining your Airbnb earning potential. Major tourist destinations, bustling urban centers, and scenic localities generally attract the most bookings, which means hosts can charge higher prices for these sought-after properties.

Seasonal demand is also crucial. Beach towns, ski resorts, and capital cities hosting events can see substantial increases in bookings during peak seasons. For example, a one-bedroom apartment along the golden coastline of one of Miami's beautiful beaches during the summer should experience high occupancy rates.

Understanding local demand patterns will enable you to optimize your listings and capitalize on high-demand periods.

Pricing strategy

A concrete pricing strategy is necessary for maximizing your income on Airbnb. You must know your competition and the types of guests you want to attract. You must set competitive yet attractive rates. You can do this by setting discounts for early bookings and longer stays.

Even better, a dynamic pricing tool is a great way of optimizing your strategy and getting you the best rates. Dynamic pricing automatically adjusts your property rates based on demand, competition, local events, and other factors. Armed with an intelligent dynamic pricing strategy, you'll remain ahead of the competition without needing continual manual adjustments.

Occupancy rate

Maintaining a high occupancy rate is critical to an Airbnb host's business. Fortunately, there are several methods for doing so.

Maintaining high-quality listings can improve occupancy rates. This means keeping information up-to-date and using marketing strategies such as SEO to improve your listing rankings. Furthermore, providing excellent customer service and earning positive reviews is one of the best ways to improve trustworthiness, leading to higher occupancy rates.

Some more tips you can implement to improve your occupancy rates are:

  • Professional photography.
  • Adjusting on-peak and off-peak prices.
  • Enhancing the guest experience.

What should Airbnb hosts provide?

Certain things every Airbnb host should provide to become successful are detailed below.

Basic amenities

Airbnb hosts should ensure their property offers the basic, essential amenities. Offering basic amenities is typically expected and goes a long way in making guests feel comfortable.

Basic amenities include:

  • Clean bedding.
  • Towels.
  • Toiletries, including shampoo, soap, and toilet paper.
  • Kitchen utensils, cookware, and basic condiments.
  • WiFi.
  • Air conditioning in hot environments.

Additional services

Providing your guests with additional services can enhance their experience at your property. For example, providing family-friendly amenities like cribs, playpens, high chairs, and baby gates can give a great first impression.

Local guidebooks are also a great idea. Maps and recommendations for nearby attractions, restaurants, and activities help your guests get the most out of their stay. Personalized touches, such as handwritten welcome notes, can make your guest experience more memorable, which can go a long way in getting positive reviews.

Guest support and communication

Effective and responsive support and communication are paramount to your success as an Airbnb host.

As a host, you should respond promptly to inquiries and booking requests. You should also provide clear and detailed check-in instructions and house rules. Furthermore, you should ensure someone, such as a vacation rental maintenance service, is there for your guests' needs at all hours of the day. This ensures your guests are catered for and any issues are addressed quickly.


As outlined in this Airbnb host guide, there are many components to being a successful host. Fortunately, you can streamline the entire process and make your Airbnb more profitable today.

Keybee’s professional vacation rental property management is the most flexible and inclusive service. An official partner of Airbnb, Keybee takes the hassle out of hosting and offers services such as 24/7 guest communication and listing setup and optimization to maximize your profitability.


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